Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ol' Lady who bakes Bundt Cakes

When I was a kid, my parents ordered from Market Day.  Market Day (www.marketday.com)  was a fund raiser that our school did, frozen meats and convenience items.  My parents did it up BIG.  My mom would get all the orders from nurses at the hospital - then submit them to the school. My Dad built a cooler in the garage that he'd setup once a month, so when he picked up the order he had somewhere to keep it cool.  He'd sit in the garage as the ladies all came after work for their orders.  I think my folks raised a lot of money for the school!
These days I no longer participate in Market Day, but I did luck out and find a recipe similar to the "Puddin' Cake" we ordered once upon a time .  They were individually packed chocolate cakes, so rich and moist with chocolate chips baked in.   This bundt cake is amazing.  While the ingredients are so simple and probably you have at hand (so make this now!).
There is also some thing fun about making a bundt cake.  I feel all old lady and special.  Although I do use my space age fancy silicon bundt pan. Maybe one of these days I'll get a real one made of metal from Good Will… complete my "Ol' Lady who bakes Bundt Cakes" persona.
Note: Ok … if you really don't want to bake this cake - but want the cake - Market Day STILL carries them!   Raise some money for a school!  https://www.marketday.com/shopping/products.aspx?sk=0&itemid=7680

Death By Chocolate Bundt Cake
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 package chocolate cake mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding mix
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Beat eggs, sour cream, water,and oil together in a large bowl until thoroughly mixed. Add cake mix and pudding mix. Beat until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into Bundt or tube pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour. When cool, sift powdered sugar on top of cake.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Beware: Cinnamon Rolls will Invite Company Over

Being an avid baker - you'd think I'd always have buttermilk around.  Nope.  I guess that also comes with doing the majority of my shopping at Aldi.  Aldi doesn't have buttermilk and honestly - I try to do all my shopping in one place -I'm lazy like that.
I read online about powdered buttermilk - how you can keep it in the fridge and it's like magic.  I’m here to say - it IS like magic.  I ran to a local grocery store on lunch one day - they claim to have every nationality of food - and I think they probably do!  I was able to buy SaCo Cultured Buttermilk - it worked great in this recipe for Cinnamon Rolls.
Let's talk about these Cinnamon Rolls - they are amazing.  I made them on Saturday planning to eat them for breakfast Sunday morning - we almost canceled our dinner plan so we could eat them for dinner.  I posted a picture on Facebook and we almost had a houseful of people for breakfast the next morning!  Instead my parents opted to come for breakfast before church.  They were pretty amazing.  While I'm not in agreement that they are a Cinnabon replacement - they were amazing and I will make this recipe again and again.  (Especially since I got a new rolling pin for my birthday.  My other one was lost in our move a year ago.)

Awesome Cinnamon Rolls
for the dough-
 3/4 cup warm water
 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
 1/2 cup granulated sugar
 1 teaspoon salt
 1/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature (or powdered buttermilk - follow directions on can)
 1 egg
 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
 4 1/2-5 cups all purpose unbleached flour

for the filling-
 1/2 cup softened margarine
 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
 2 tablespoons cornstarch

for the frosting-
 2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
 1/4 cup softened margarine
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

Making the Dough- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, pour in water, yeast and 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar. Stir and proof 5 minutes. Once mixture looks bubbly and frothy, pour in remaining sugar and salt. Stir on low for 15-20 seconds. In a small bowl, measure buttermilk, oil and egg. Whisk ingredients together until egg is incorporated to other two ingredients. Pour contents into the water and yeast mixture. Stir another 20 seconds in the mixer. Pour 2 cups of flour into mixer and stir on low until incorporated. Sprinkle flour in by 1/4 cup increments until dough cleans the sides and bottom of the bowl. Dough should be sticky but not sticky enough to stick to your hands when touched. Once it has reached this stage, turn mixer on and knead for 5 minutes. Remove dough from bowl, grease and replace back into same mixing bowl {since it's practically clean anyways.} Cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel. Rise 1-2 hours or until dough has doubled in size.

Filling and Cutting Rolls- In a medium size bowl, stir brown sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch together until combined. Set aside. Punch down dough. Flour a large clean table liberally with flour. Lightly flour dough as well. Roll dough out to be a 20x30 rectangle {or as close to that as possible} while moving dough around to ensure it's not sticking to your work surface. If it's a little short or uneven, feel free to cut off the edges to even it all out. {FYI-I cut off some dough on one side and filled in a spot that needed more dough on the other side to make a more even rectangle.} Spread softened margarine over dough, being sure to go right to the edges leaving a 1-inch strip untouched on one of the longer sides of dough. Dump brown sugar mixture onto the middle of the dough and spread with your hands, creating an even layer over top of the margarine, still leaving that 1-inch strip of dough untouched. If you have any filling that falls off the sides of the dough, use a bench scraper to replace. Lightly press the sugar mixture into the margarine using a rolling pin. Roll the dough up into a tight log, finishing with the plain dough on the bottom to seal the entire thing together. Cut off the uneven ends to even out the log. Score log every 2 inches and then slice your rolls using those marks. Place into parchment paper lined, margarine greased pans. 12 into a 9x13, 3 remaining into a loaf pan, or 8x8 with the small ends. Cover pans with plastic wrap and dish towels. Let rolls rise another 1-2 hours or until they are touching and have risen almost double. My rolls always spread out more than up, so just be aware that they will most likely spread out more than up. Bake in a preheated 350 degree for 17 minutes, or until tops start to brown. Watch them carefully!!

For the Frosting- While the rolls are baking, whip cream cheese and margarine together. Stir in vanilla, corn syrup and lemon juice. Scrape sides and mix again. Pour in powdered sugar and stir slowly until it starts to incorporate. Then mix on high for 5 minutes or until frosting starts to lighten in color. Scrape sides and mix again briefly. Once rolls have been removed from the oven, frost using half the amount made. Then after they have cooled a few more minutes, frost again with remaining frosting. The first frosting will melt down into the rolls and the second layer should stay put. Serve warm.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

One Brownie, Two Brownie, Three Brownie, YUM!

Ever have a hankering for a brownie but you aren't sure if you want to make a few, a bunch or a whole pan?  Oh do I have a recipe for you!  I found this recipe for brownie mix when I was looking for recipes for our family canning exchange.  Now I don't really need it since our 20 jalapeno salsa turned out far less spicy than Andy had hoped… when I say less I mean like no spice at all.  Our jalapeno are apparently wimps.
This recipe is easy to mix up.  Dump the dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk them up with a whisk.  Store this is a bottle with the baking instructions attached and you are ready to make brownies when ever you need them.  And for you edge liking folks - these are perfect - whip up a small batch each time and get double the edges.  I'm not an edge person, I like them as gooey as they can be.

The Best Brownie Mix

For the Mix:
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup cocoa
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the prepared Brownies:
See directions for amounts, depending on pan size:
Unsalted butter (melted), vegetable oil, OR liquid coconut oil
Vanilla Extract


To Make the Mix:
Whisk together all mix ingredients in a large bowl. Place in an airtight container or gallon size ziploc bag. Store until ready to make brownies.
Note: you can also gift this brownie mix in a large jar. Just attach directions as written below!

To Make a 9x9” Pan of Brownies:
Mix 2 cups of Brownie Mix with 1/2 cup melted butter (or you can use vegetable oil, or liquid coconut oil), 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon water. (If desired, add 1/2 cup of chopped nuts or mini chocolate chips!) Spread in a 9x9” pan that’s been lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350°F for about 20-24 minutes, until a toothpick comes out 1” from the edge of the pan with only a few crumbs. Cool before slicing into squares.

To Make a Loaf Pan of Brownies:
Mix 1 cup of Brownie Mix with 1/4 cup melted butter (or you can use vegetable oil, or liquid coconut oil), 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 1/2 teaspoons water. (If desired, add 1/4 cup of chopped nuts or mini chocolate chips!) Spread in a loaf pan (4x8 or 9x5) that’s been lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350°F for about 12-15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out 1” from the edge of the pan with only a few crumbs. Cool before slicing into squares.

You could also use a mini muffin or regular sized cupcake tin to make single serving brownies! Just be sure to grease them well with butter, shortening, or cooking spray with flour for easy removal (or use muffin liners). Baking time will be affected.

To make a 9x13" pan of brownies, mix 3 cups of brownie mix with 3/4 cup melted butter (or you can use vegetable oil, or liquid coconut oil), 3 eggs, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 1 1/2 tablespoons water. (If desired, add 3/4 cup of chopped nuts or mini chocolate chips!) Spread in a 9x13” pan that’s been lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350°F for about 22-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out 1” from the edge of the pan with only a few crumbs. Cool before slicing into squares.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Golden Orb of Summer in a Jar

Several years ago we had a peach marathon.  We were making jam for our wedding favors and ended up making 9 gallons of jam, 5 pies, 2 cobblers and endless amounts of canned peaches, we even froze some.  Needless to say we had gotten carried away with how many we picked.
We love canned peaches, but one of the hardest parts is figuring out how much syrup to make, how sweet to make it, sometimes it feels like  it cooks the peaches more than necessary, a frustration for sure.  I saw this method on Pinterest and I knew I had to try it.
Instead of making syrup - you fill bottles with sliced peaches, add the amount of sugar you desire for the heaviness of syrup you want, then fill with hot water.  This makes small batches a cinch.   You are able to can just a few peaches or a whole bushel without making one batch of syrup.

Take the skins off your peaches (dip in boiling water for 10-12 seconds, then into ice water, peal falls off).  Cut peaches into slices and place in clean jars.  Heat a pot of water.  Now add the sugar to the jars on top of your fruit.  1/2 cup per pint makes a nice light syrup.  Add more for a heavier syrup–up to about 1/4 cup per pint.  Double those quantities if you’re canning in quart jars.
Then pour your hot water into the jar over the fruit and sugar and prepare to process the jar as you normally would.  The sugar will dissolve in the water as the fruit is in the canner.
Wipe jar rims and threads. Place lids and bands on jars. Place jars on rack in deep stockpot of hot water from step 1. Cover, bring to a boil and process 25 minutes for pints, 30 minutes for quarts. Remove jars from hot water and place, not touching, on dish towel and cover. Cool several hours or overnight. Test seals before storing.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Field Editor : Sounds Fancy (too bad my picture is crappy)

Field Editor for Taste of Home- it sounds fancy doesn't it?  Not really but that is how Taste of Home Magazine knows me.  What does that mean?  I send them recipes - they send me the magazine - not a bad deal right?
One of the recipes I've submitted is for Chicken Pot Pie.  I have my usual recipe - but this one was more a throw together kind of dinner.  I usually make a double recipe so I can throw half of the filling in the freezer to make an easy meal for another night.  Please note - the final "beauty" picture on this recipe?  REALLY not my finest work… ugh.  Some days there is just no way to make you meal look as tasty as it is… it just looks like slop on plate.
If you want to give me a review or a few stars - head on over to my recipe at Taste of Home - I'd love some feedback - if you are willing.

Easy Chicken Pot Pie 
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 small onion diced
2 medium size potatoes, boiled and diced
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp season salt
3 cups diced/cooked chicken
1 cup cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 premade pie crust
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet, cook carrots, celery and onion in vegetable oil until just soft. In a large mixing bowl, add veggies, boiled and diced potatoes, soup, milk, seasonings, cheese and chicken. Pour into greased pie plate. Top with premade pie crust and cut several slits in top of pie. Whisk egg and brush on top of crust. Bake for 30 minutes – until filling is bubbly and crust is golden brown. Yield: serves 6

Note: Double the filling to make extra filling for the freezer.

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